Your Broadway Experience Toolkit
Whether it’s your first time hitting up Broadway, or your 70th, a NYC theatre experience never gets old. From deciding what show to see and picking out an outfit to wear, to figuring out where to grab a pre-show meal and which spot to hit up for a post-show cocktail, seeing a Broadway show is an unforgettable experience.
Each year, over 13 million people see a show on Broadway, fueling the industry with over a billion dollars in ticket sales annually. To say that a theatre experience is a popular activity is quite an understatement. It’s a New York City must-do, and we won’t let you miss a single thing!
Check out our first timer's guide to Broadway Theatre and learn all the insider hacks you wouldn't know otherwise.
Where To Sit
There are currently 40 theaters that make up ‘Broadway’. What differentiates a Broadway theater from an Off-Broadway theater is the size of the venue. To qualify as a Broadway theater, the venue must have a seating capacity greater than 500. Off-Broadway theaters seat anywhere between 100-499. Only Broadway theater productions have been deemed eligible for the Tony Awards.
So with over 500 seats to choose from, how do you pick a seat?
While orchestra seats do offer excellent views, it’s a misconception that they’re the absolute best in the house. The front mezzanine is actually a theater’s sweet spot; especially the front row. You’ll have an incredible view of all that goes off on stage. If you’d still prefer to be closer to the action, sit at least eight rows from the stage to avoid a neck ache.
A few other tips: avoid the far sides and the very back of theatre – both areas tend to present an obstructed view. Most theatres offer booster seats; don’t be afraid to ask for one. And if you’re taller than average, snagging an aisle seat is a wise choice. Your legs will thank you.
For more information and tips, check out our detailed seating chart guides for Broadway’s top theaters.
What To Wear
Broadway theaters don’t have a specific dress code, but it is an opportunity to get dolled up (or suited up) if you wish to. In general, try and stick to semi-casual or semi-formal. Jeans are fine, but do avoid clothing that borders on sportswear.
The theaters are air conditioned year round. While this might be a pleasant relief from the summer heat, it can get a little chilly in the cooler months. Bring a light sweater or jacket to be on the safe side, especially if you tend to run cold.
Where To Eat
In New York City, there is absolutely no shortage of good food. From Italian to French, South African to Indian, Japanese to Middle Eastern, you can find it all within a short distance of any Broadway theatre.
This guide to the best theatre district restaurants will help you discover the perfect place for a pre-show dinner or snack. Fine dining, casual eateries, or in between – take your pick.
Restaurants in the theatre district are quite used to seating and serving theatre goers, but it doesn’t hurt to mention you have a curtain to make. On that same note, it’s also your responsibility to allow for enough time. If your play begins at 8pm, make the reservation for 6 pm at the latest, just to be safe.
Where To Drink
The options are endless in NYC, but there are definitely a few theatre district hot spots. If you didn’t quite get your fix of star spotting at the stage door, make your way to the hip Bar Centrale. This sophisticated speakeasy is conveniently tucked away in a nicely, hidden spot off of West 46th street. There’s a high probability you’ll bump into a handful of cast members and, at the very least, you’re guaranteed a killer cocktail.
Check out some of our other favorite theatre district post-show bars and lounges.